The iconic fashion and jewelry creator Chanel is known for many things—the luxurious perfumes, the never-out-of-fashion tweed jacket, the bold yet elegant faux pearls, Camellias, and so much more. And still, there are so many interesting facts you may not know about Chanel
, so today we’re summing up 7 of the most peculiar ones.
Chanel's Abundance of Lions
Have you ever wondered why the lion is frequently present in Chanel’s jewelry? You’re not alone! The appearance of lions in Chanel’s jewelry collections has deeply personal reasons, and the answer is rather simple: Chanel was born in August, under the Leo star sign. She is said to love lion signs and statues. In fact it is said that Coco kept a lion figurine next to her cigarettes and scissors. Interestingly, in addition to her jewelry, the lion can also be seen engraved on the bottoms of Chanel’s tweed suits.
Chanel's First High-End Jewelry Design
Chanel conceptualized and designed her first and only high-end jewelry collection in 1932, called "Bijoux de Diamants." This coincided with when she was about to celebrate her 50th birthday. The jewelry collection debuted during the Great Depression with an over-the-top celebration. The collection was inspired by themes of the celestial forms, and it is believed Chanel wanted to give the wearer and observer a sense of hope for the future through this collection.
Chanel's Support of Russian Ballet
Coco met Russian composer Igor Stravinsky in 1920 and she even housed his family in one of her homes for nearly a year. Stravinsky's compositional style was known for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by the impresario Serge Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes: The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. Chanel donated 300,000 francs, what was considered a small fortune at the time, to fund the Ballets Russe and designed various costumes for the Russian ballet company.
Chanel's Impressive Fine Jewelry Collection
Chanel had an impressive fine jewelry collection and she didn’t pay for most of it. In the later 1920s, only the very wealthy families could afford jewelry because it was almost always made with precious stones and gold, platinum or silver. On the contrary to fine jewelry, costume jewelry was a sort of style faux-pas. Chanel had an impressive fine jewelry collection of her own, said to consists mostly of jewelry pieces that were gifts from her adoring suitors, and yet she was known for mixing fine pieces with costume jewelry. Chanel was notorious for layering on faux-pearl strings and necklaces
that contrasted against her minimalist designs.
Chanel's Six Years in Convent
Coco’s mother died when she was only eleven years old. She and her two sisters were sent to the orphanage at the abbey at Aubazine in Corrèze, France. Chanel spent six years at the convent, until the age of 18. She lead a simple life there. Among other daily chores, the future fashion and jewelry designer learned to sew.
Chanel No. 5: Just a Lucky Number
The iconic scent that Marilyn Monroe, among many others, was so fond of, wasn’t created by Coco as such. What happened was, she gave her name to a perfumer, becoming the first ever designer to be featured on a fragrance. Number five was said to be Coco’s favorite number so Chanel just chose the fifth sample the perfumer gave her. And that’s how Chanel No. 5 came to live. To this day Chanel No. 5 is the best selling perfume of all times.
Design: Not At Top of Chanel’s Dream List
Becoming a designer of clothes and jewelry was actually nowhere near the top of Coco’s wish list. She dreamed of living on stage and being a singer. She worked in the spa resort town of Vichy, but gradually realized that her singing talents just weren't strong enough to make a decent living.